Timescapes of Urban Change: : London – Barcelona, a regeneration comparison

Date and time
Tuesday 29 November 2016
6.30-8.15 PM (GMT)

UCL Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY

Time and space lie at the centre of discussions on urban redevelopment projects. The making of urban space is in many ways a materialisation of the passing of time socially, financially, and politically. Yet, those using the city inhabit and create a diversity of temporalities. Hence, urban change is underpinned by a multiplicity of temporal narratives, practices and ideologies which operate at different speeds and intensities, sometimes converging, other times conflicting, to produce a particular sense of place.

Focusing on two cities that are exemplars of their urban regeneration in recent years: Barcelona and London, this event will bring together urban professionals and academics to reflect, from a long-term perspective, on the role of time in the construction and experience of these two cities. By doing this, we hope to situate questions around temporality at the forefront of the research agenda on urban change.

View the programme here.



  • Simone Abram (Anthropology, Durham University): “Anticipation and Apprehension: temporal agency in urban change”
  • Mari Paz Balibrea (Department of Cultures and Languages, Birkbeck): “Militant time, leisure time, working time: Reflections on life in the creative city”
  • Carme Gual Via (Foment Ciutat Vella, Barcelona City Council): “As time goes by…or how cities reinvent the wheel every term of office”
  • Euan Mills (Future Cities Catapult): “How should temporal considerations affect the design of the built environment?”
  • Bob Allies (Allies and Morrison Architects): “The urban masterplan: a process not a product”
  • Mike Raco (The Bartlett, UCL): “Living in democratic times: Reflections on the transformation of London’s built environment”

This is the first of a two-part conference, with the second taking place at the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona on 12 and 13 December. Both events will be streamed live online and there will be opportunities for those not in attendance to participate in the discussions and pose questions. More information on the live stream soon.

The event is part of Dr. Monica Degen’s research project Timescapes of Urban Change, supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

RSVP via Eventbrite: urbantimescapes.eventbrite.co.uk

Cities in the BRICS: What are we comparing?

Date and time
Friday 11 November 2016
2-4 PM (GMT)

UCL Pearson Building, Room G07, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT 

Cities in the BRICS: What are we comparing


Yan Yang and Philip Harrison (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)


Fulong Wu (Bartlett School of Planning, UCL)

The term BRIC was used initially in an analytical sense to refer to a grouping of countries beyond the West with the potential to reconfigure the geography of the global economy. After 2009 however it referred to a political alliance with geopolitical intentions (with BRIC becoming BRICS when South Africa joined in 2010). The construct is under pressure in terms of its analytical and political use as BRICS economies have become increasingly differentiated in terms of economic performance and as severe diplomatic tensions have emerged within the alliance.

In this seminar we discuss ongoing comparative work on cities in the BRICS, a grouping of countries that account for nearly 40% of the world’s total urban population. With the enormous diversity of the BRICS in almost all categories – including scale, economic performance, levels and rates of urbanisation, income and governance – questions arise over the meaning and purpose of comparison. We discuss the challenge of comparison but nevertheless show how very different places can be drawn into a meaningful comparative conversation. There is however a significant point of commonality. All countries in the BRICS have experienced far-reaching political and/or economic transformations over the past few decades in a way that the global West has not.

In the presentation we show how these macro changes have been translated into urban change, but also show how differences in the national and local management of these processes account in part for significant differences (and similarities) across the BRICS in terms of urban outcomes. We use the different trajectories of metropolitan governance as an illustrative case. 

No booking required, just turn up. For further information, contact Jenny Robinson.